Adding nuts to male diet improves sperm function

Adding nuts to male diet improves sperm function

Experts said the study backed up others that showed a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and the B vitamin folate improved fertility.

A group of men who consumed 60 grams of mixed almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts every day for 14 weeks showed significantly higher levels of sperm count, vitality, motility and morphology than a control group of men who did not include nuts in their diet.

The findings of the study, funded by the International Nut and Dried Food Council, were presented at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) annual meeting in Barcelona. In its analysis the study recorded not just sperm parameters (according to World Health Organization benchmarks) but also changes in several molecular factors, including sperm DNA fragmentation.(3) Sperm and blood samples were analysed at baseline and after 14 weeks of intervention. For example, it is unclear what the subjects' regular "western-style diet" actually consisted of.

The group who added nuts to their diet were found to have significant improvement in a number of benchmarks for healthy sperm.

The 119 participants of the study were young and healthy men aged between 18 and 35. Indeed, it was this change in the level of DNA fragmentation in the sperm cells by which the investigators explained, at least in part, the improvement in sperm count, motility and morphology.

"Therefore, with regard to this study, I am not surprised that a diet rich in nuts is associated with better sperm".

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The study was conducted, according to lead author Dr. Albert Salas-Huetos, in the context of a general decline in sperm quantity and quality, attributed in industrialized countries to "pollution, smoking, and unhealthy diets". They also had reduced DNA fragmentation, which is a measure of sperm damage.

Sperm and blood samples were taken at the beginning and end of the study.

Morphology - the size and shape of sperm - increased by 1 percent.

Researchers also looked at sperm DNA fragmentation, closely associated with male infertility, and found that this was also less in the group that ate the nuts. The second group, on the other hand, did not eat any nuts.

But as for whether men should add nuts to their diet if they're trying to have a child, "we can't yet say that", said study co-author Albert Salas-Huetos.

"We can't yet say that based exclusively on the results of this study", Salas-Huetos said.

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